All posts tagged ethics

Executive Spotlight: Joan Hartel Cabral, Vantel Pearls

Executive Spotlight: Joan Hartel Cabral, Vantel Pearls

From the DSEF: We’re excited to continue our blog series featuring top executives in DSEF-supporter direct selling companies today! Every few weeks we’ll introduce you to another top executive, and they’ll share their thoughts on Direct Sales, Ethics, Social Good, and why they support the DSEF. 

Today we’re thrilled to continue this series with Joan Hartel Cabral, the Founder and President of Vantel Pearls, a company that features parties where oysters are opened and guests purchase jewelry made with the pearls inside. Vantel Pearls has been a big supporter of the DSEF for many years, and we’re thrilled to have Joan Hartel Cabral share her thoughts with you today. Enjoy!

Executive Spotlight: Joan Hartel Cabral, Vantel Pearls

Joan Hartel Cabral

What did you do before you got involved with your company?

I lived in Spain for 3 years.  I moved there for the adventure, to learn Spanish and to enjoy the lifestyle.  It was in Spain that I started my first business.   I opened an Aerobics Studio in Denia, along the coast.   My students found it very funny when I said “toque sus hombres” touch your men, instead of “toque sus hombros” touch your shoulders.  I instantly loved running my own business and inspiring others to believe they could positively impact their own lives.   After only 3 months, the Town Government endorsed my business and offered me a rent-free gymnasium.

What do you love about your company?

 I love that our Vantel Pearls’ oysters are a metaphor for Life.  Inside every oyster, there is at least one pearl.  A pearl is formed when an oyster defends against a grain of sand or foreign particle.  The oyster secretes layers and layers of nacre or mother-of-pearl around the irritant.   When we have a challenge, how many of us, as oysters do, find the gift in it-actually turn it into something positive?   We can learn to embrace transformational opportunities.  The pearl is a creation of beauty from adversity.  How fabulous is that?!

What makes your salesforce amazing?

Our Sales Team is truly amazing in the way they see all things are possible.  They strive for excellence.  They give back generously.  They express gratitude to Vantel Pearls because they have learned that their beliefs and attitudes directly influence their choices and actions.   They are connected to each other and support each other.   They transform the lives of others knowing pearls make a woman feel beautiful on the inside.  They are empowered women who are inspired to live authentic, joyous and abundant lives.

How do you ensure your company maintains the highest level of ethics?

Ethics is an integral part of the Vantel Pearls culture.  We adhere to principles of integrity, our 8 Treasured Gems, which are incorporated into our meetings, our catalog, our manner of doing business.

Our Sales Team is held to high standards.  In the event that an individual is outside the guidelines of our standards, their Agreement is terminated.  We keep things very simple.

Our general objective is to grow organically and from that we build enduring loyalty.

What kind of social good campaigns does your company participate in or run?

Vantel Pearls offers early intervention education to children in schools and YMCA programs.  When we present an unopened oyster and discuss how “ugly” the outer shell is and then open the oyster and discover the ‘beautiful’ pearl, with a specific format, the children open up about the name calling, harassment, and intimidation that occurs when teachers are not present.  We have a full discussion without ever using the “bullying” word!  We transform the conversation into believing in your gifts, non-judgment of others and a whole lot more!  It’s the most amazing program providing self-esteem awareness.  We plan to expand on this program and change the world!

Why do you think the DSEF is important?

We have been an active supporter of the DSEF for several years.  The DSEF significantly promotes and educates the public about direct selling.  I believe that our business model of direct selling can allow others to have a richer, more meaningful life.  I believe direct selling empowers individuals to set their own goals, choose their own working hours, have financial independence and fulfill their own dreams.  College debt is rising and personal debt is increasing.  We have a growing crisis.  Rather than encourage widespread borrowing, let’s promote a simple entrepreneurial plan that offers financial security and confidence.  The insurmountable debt of our society needs attention and direct selling is an answer.

Thank you, Joan, for sharing your inspiring story with us. We are grateful for the support of companies like Vantel Pearls, that help us to spread the message of ethics, entrepreneurship and integrity around the world. We appreciate you!

Free e-book “Business Owner’s Road Map to Success.” It has over 50 pages of techniques for everything a small business owner needs to master, from business planning and ethical selling to a success mindset. It’s all there and it’s free for you. To get it, just “Like” our Facebook Page here: Pass it on!

A Sales Pitch that Doesn’t Sound Like a Sales Pitch

A Sales Pitch that Doesn’t Sound Like a Sales Pitch

In the past, sales pitches were intrusive and created to reach a wide population.  Now, with the dominance of the internet, effective sales pitches cater to individual customers’ needs.  They are not canned or contrived because the modern consumer can see right through it and has a wide variety of alternatives right at his or her fingertips.  Here are a few ways to frame your sales pitches in such a way that it allows you to promote your products/services without sounding like a pushy sales pitch, and even encourage others to market your products/services for you.

  •  Scavenger Hunt – This can be used to draw in new customers.  Use promotional items (electronic or paper) to start a scavenger hunt for a special first-time customer gift.  As an added convenience, you can create one totally online by taking your prospective clients on a guided tour of some relevant websites.  Start by creating a theme that works with your business, like food, jewelry, or health & beauty products.  Make sure the questions are easy to answer and that each item only takes a short time to find.  At the end of the hunt, your would-be customer is rewarded with a special gift!  You’ve now drawn them in to try your product, made it fun for them to share it with their friends, and you’ve promoted your business without the traditional sales pitch.
  • Giveaways – Many businesses offer free products or services for first-time customers, but usually some sort of purchase is necessary.  Consider a giveaway that stands out from the rest: one that literally gives something away totally for free. Offer it for free for first-timers, and wow them with your quality and customer service.  By doing so, you create a risk-free situation and promote your products/services through the giveaway without sounding like a sales pitch.  You have now started a relationship and given them a reason to share it with their friends.
  • Referrals & Rewards – Not only do you want to draw in new customers, but you want to reward your loyal ones as well.  Create and use a reward system for referrals that promotes your products/services.  Whenever a new customer makes a purchase, all they have to do is mention the name of the person who referred them.  That referrer then gets a special discount or promotional item.  Word of mouth is an effective method for bringing in new customers, so motivate your current ones by showing them how much you appreciate their patronage and recommendations.

When creating a non-sales pitch sales pitch, remember to frame it in such a way that the promotion includes marketing your products/services. If done correctly, people should feel like you are talking about the promotion and not delivering a sales pitch. Make them simple and direct, but most importantly, be genuine in your interactions with prospective clients.  They will appreciate your sincerity and your creative approach.

Please share your own ideas for a creative sales pitch in the comments below!

Free e-book “Business Owner’s Road Map to Success.” It has over 50 pages of techniques for everything a small business owner needs to master, from business planning and ethical selling to a success mindset. It’s all there and it’s free for you. To get it, just “Like” our Facebook Page here: Pass it on!

Using Honesty to Build Your Business

Using Honesty to Build Your Business

”Honesty is the cornerstone of all success, without which confidence and ability to perform shall cease to exist.” ~Mary Kay Ash

Mary Kay Ash was one of the greatest role models for business and business women and a trail blazer in the direct sales industry. If you want your business to succeed, want to attract people, keep their loyalty and create a raving fan base, then honesty is the key. Here’s how honesty can build your business:

  • Your honest story – People will support your business if they feel a connection with you. This is a great opportunity to share how, what, where, when and why about your business. This creates an honest and authentic foundation for business growth.
  • Honest testimonials – Honest testimonials are like gigantic walking billboards for your business. Creating genuine audio and visual testimonials are more powerful than any paid marketing or commercial.
  • Honest references – Ask people who know you to mention and share your ethical qualities. People will seek out your business because they know they are dealing with an honest person.
  • Display a framed Honesty Policy – Boldly display your business commitment and customer service policy by the door or on your written materials. This will make you and your business memorable and generate positive word of mouth.
  • Create an honesty motto – For example: We are true to our customer’s needs. People will share your motto when talking about your business. This is a simple way for people to remember and share your business praise.

In our internet era, your reputation can spread virally very quickly for better or for worse. Setting honesty as your cornerstone will help grow your business strong and give it longevity.

How do you promote honesty in your business? Would love to read your ideas in the comments below.

DSEF & CBBB How Responsible Are You?

DSEF & CBBB How Responsible Are You?

Today’s highlighted blog post from the Council on Better Business Bureaus (CBBB)

How Responsible Are You?

Many years ago, when I was growing up, my dad told me: “A man is only as good as his word.” (My dad is one of these old-fashioned Idaho guys who says “man” when he means “person.” But I got the message.) I didn’t get it from what he said though.


DSEF and Council on Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) fosters honest and responsive relationships between businesses and consumers—instilling consumer confidence and advancing a trustworthy marketplace for all.

About the Better Business Bureaus
As the leader in advancing marketplace trust, Better Business Bureau is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Every year, more than 87 million consumers rely on BBB Business Reviews® and BBB Wise Giving Reports® to help them find trustworthy businesses and charities across North America. for more information.










Ethical Testimonials Help Build Your Brand and Your Business

Ethical Testimonials Help Build Your Brand and Your Business

Testimonials are one of the greatest marketing tools you have. Research tells us that people are a lot more likely to believe what others say about you than what you say about yourself. This is the reason that online shopping sites often have a place for customers to leave reviews about individual products (and why so many shoppers turn to them when making a decision about what to buy.) As a small business owner, you should be asking your loyal and enthusiastic customers for testimonials on a regular basis.

Yet it’s also important to be sure that your testimonials are accurate and ethical. This enables you to comply with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rules regarding testimonials and endorsements, and also helps customers to trust you. After all, testimonials that go beyond the facts can damage your credibility, and lead to disappointed customers. And testimonials used in your marketing material that made health, income, or product claims beyond what you’re allowed to say legally can get you and your business into hot water.

So how do you get started using testimonials to promote your business? Here are some tips:

  1. When asking for testimonials, provide testimonial starters such as:
    • What I like best about (Your name/business) because__________________________________.
    • The product/service was great because (it was easy, fast) _______________________________.
    • Working with (Your name/business) was great because it was able to help me__________________.
    • I would recommend (Your name/business) because____________________________________.
  2. Use the complete testimonials whenever possible. This way you ensure that the customer’s intended message cannot be misunderstood.
  3. If you’ve got a parent company, get approval to use the testimonials that address product, income, or health claims. Usually your company has a legal department that can determine whether or not you can legally market your business using the claims in the testimonial. When in doubt, don’t use it!
  4. Use testimonials to overcome inherent objections in your business. If there are certain objections that you hear a lot, use a testimonial provided by a customer to address that concern. Print it in your marketing materials (with the customer’s permission, of course.)
  5. Use testimonials to make a point or promote your message. Rather than just lumping all your testimonials together, use them strategically throughout your marketing materials. For example, if you are talking about how quickly you deliver your products, use a testimonial of a customer raving about the speed of delivery. It’s like the exclamation point on your message.
  6. Asking for testimonials should be part of your sales process. Whenever you complete a transaction, make asking for a testimonial a part of your follow-up process. Once you’ve determined that the customer is satisfied, it’s a good time to say, “Would you be willing to provide me with a testimonial?”

Using testimonials that are accurate and stick to the facts can be a great marketing tool to help you build your business even bigger. How do you use testimonials to promote your business? Where do you put them? How do you ask for them? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.

Anyone Can Be a Direct Seller

Anyone Can Be a Direct Seller

Have you ever thought about joining a direct selling company? You may have heard that direct sellers enjoy making their own hours, earning extra income, and the friendship that comes with working with people you enjoy. But how do you get started? And is it too good to be true? Let’s explore:

First, what is direct selling?

Direct selling is the sale of a consumer product or service, person-to-person, away from a fixed retail location, marketed through independent sales representatives who are sometimes also referred to as consultants, distributors or other titles. Just about any product or service can be purchased through direct selling somewhere in the world. Many people think of cosmetics, wellness products and home décor as products that are often sold through direct sales, but add to that countless other product categories including kitchen products, jewelry, clothing, organic gardening supplies, spa products, scrapbooking supplies, rubber stamps and much, much more. (Source: Direct Selling 411)

Second, what’s the process of becoming a direct seller?

  • Many people begin by falling in love with a line of products/services and the company that provides them.
  • Sign up for the business kit from the direct selling company. Make sure there is a product buyback option.
  • Work with a mentor and follow the step by step training provided by the company.
  • Start talking to friends, family and neighbors about the products/services you love.
  • Share your experiences about using the products/services with people.
  • Set up meetings/parties to make sales.
  • Find people who love the products/services as much as you and help them get started.
  • Build a team and expand your business with people who want to own their own direct selling businesses.
  • Become a leader in your industry, continue your training and operate a successful business.

When you love a product or service, you naturally tell everyone you know. You want them to benefit like you have. In direct selling that process is weaved into a business system provided by a direct sales company. Word of mouth selling or promotion is one of the oldest and simplest business models. If you love something and can share it with others you can be a direct seller.

To learn more, check out this video about direct selling.

What else do people need to know about becoming a direct seller? Have you done it? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.

Online Advertising and Marketing: A Checklist to Protect your Business and Consumers

Online Advertising and Marketing: A Checklist to Protect your Business and Consumers

These days, it seems like everyone is marketing online. From Facebook Pages, Google Adwords, blogs, and more, there are seemingly unlimited options when it comes to promoting your business online. Yet online marketing provides some challenges as well. Since there is some anonymity built into the internet, ethical considerations become even more important.

Here are some guidelines for business owners to remember when advertising and marketing online. The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) has provided these guidelines to protect businesses and consumers.

  • Maintain credibility on the Internet. The honest and ethical practices you maintain in your offline business must also be adhered to online. So be sure that your marketing doesn’t mislead, or contain omissions that prevent consumers from making informed choices. Make sure that people know exactly where they’re going when they click on your ad, and help them feel confident that they’re dealing with an ethical business person.
  • All claims must be substantiated, especially concerning health, safety and/or performance. The evidence will depend on the product, the claims and what experts believe necessary. Testimonials and endorsements must reflect typical experiences, unless clearly stated, and cannot be used if the advertiser itself cannot substantiate it. So don’t claim that your product cures a disease if you don’t have a clinical study to back it up. When in doubt, check with your company so you only post what you’re allowed to say.
  • Sellers are responsible and liable for all claims about their products or services. If you’re even slightly unsure whether you should say something, you probably shouldn’t. After all, you could cause serious trouble for your business.
  • Disclaimers and disclosures must be clearly stated. While there are many facets to this, one important one is that government rules require that you disclose your relationship with any company where you’ll profit through a recommendation. This means that if you recommend a product, people must clearly understand that you’ll make money if people follow your recommendation.
  • Advertising directly to children involves special rules. So if you’re sharing your information on a social network where children are allowed, or your products are for children, be sure to check with your company to find out what you can and cannot say legally.

For more information about marketing online legally, visit Here you’ll find lots of resources that help protect you, and your customers!

Our mission at the Direct Selling Education Foundation is to help protect your business and your clients, and provide crucial education for your business success! If you find DSEF a valuable partner for your business, please click here and make a donation. Your support makes all the difference in our ability to support you!